Samantha Emrich is a specialist in strategic and creative planning at the public relations and marketing agency, Ketchum. Sam is also an avid yogi, yoga instructor, and a wellness blogger at Catching Dragonfly. Read her advice and learn the impact yoga has had on her life.
How did you end up at Ketchum? What was your career path?
I wanted to work for Ketchum since I was 18 years old. I had a few college mentors that spoke so highly of the agency, became interested in Ketchum at a young age. My senior year of college, I applied for the 2012 Summer Ketchum Fellows program. I got to the final round and was cut. Still determined, I reapplied to Ketchum for a full-time job several months later and was hired! I hopped on a train from Rhode Island to New York with nothing but two suitcases and endless determination.
I was fortunate enough to begin my career in Ketchum’s market research and analytics division. After almost a year as a research associate, I moved into the account side to work on food and wellness brands and was promoted. While I learned so much in my research and account roles, I soon realized my greatest skills and passions were in strategy and creativity. So last spring, I applied for a role on New York’s creative team and have been working there ever since. I consider my path at Ketchum to be an exciting evolution, a testament to the power of perseverance and evidence that it is possible to carve your own path, even at a large company.
What is a typical workday like for you? Walk me through your day!
I kick every workday off by doing yoga practice at the New York Sports Club by my office. This helps me start each day feeling physically and mentally charged. When I arrive at the office, I begin answering emails, attending meetings, working on creative projects, presenting programs, and facilitating brainstorms. I serve as a strategic and creative consultant helping Ketchum clients crack their toughest creative challenges. In a nutshell, I generate creative ideas and help sell them to clients. Most days I’m working out of Ketchum’s headquarters in Manhattan. Some days I’m at client presentations or traveling domestically for current or new business. Every day is different, which is extremely fun.
What is your favorite thing about working at Ketchum?
My favorite thing about working for Ketchum is the people. I have several mentors who sincerely believe in me and invest their time and resources into my growth. I am endlessly grateful to them.
Another favorite aspect of Ketchum is the cultural belief that good ideas can come from anyone. Age, title, and experience level are irrelevant when it comes to who has the best idea in the room. It could be from a partner or from the new kid in digital. I love that.
When you’re not working, you are at yoga or working on your yoga and wellness blog, Catching Dragonfly. What tips do you have for managing a career, a blog, and a social life?
Plan, plan, plan! And keep it real. Focus on managing your energy, rather than your time. If you’re feeling it, go for it! If you’re tired, take a break. I like to remind myself that I can do it all, but not all in the same week.
I’ve read a lot of studies about the benefits of yoga. Do you think that yoga has helped your career and your general wellbeing?
Absolutely! Living my yoga on and off the mat has helped me open my mind, enhance my creativity, relieve stress, and find greater happiness in all aspects of life. Additionally, yoga has helped me develop a stronger sense of self, which is inextricably linked to connecting more meaningfully with others. I now teach weekly yoga classes at Ketchum’s headquarters to help my colleagues recenter, destress, and tune inwards.
What tips do you have for people who want to start practicing yoga?
Just begin and keep practicing. It will change your DNA if you let it. If you don’t know where to start, try beginner yoga classes on YouTube. Or, shoot me an email at email@example.com 🙂
How would you define your professional style? What are a few staples?
I love to bring my om to the office through my wardrobe choices — what I call “office namastyle.” I wear pieces that are professional, yet comfortable and creatively inspiring.
I often do basic postures on the yoga mat in my office mid-day to release stale energy and enhance my creativity, so clothes that facilitate mobility are key. I like wearing a more neutral color palette and my #1 staple is my slightly oversized black boyfriend blazer. Every day I wear jewelry that reminds me to live my yoga at work. My favorite piece at the moment is a Buddha bracelet given to me by Brielle Belle. Engraved on the pendant reads, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
What is on your desk right now?
My 2015 planner from Lorna Jane, English breakfast tea, and The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
1. People want to work with people they like. You can be the smartest, most hard-working person in the room, but if you’re not someone people want to grab a coffee with, you’ll be hard-pressed to reach your full potential.
2. If you’re unsure of your path, carve it yourself.
What is a fun fact about you?
Though I’m often pegged as an extrovert, I happen to be quite introverted. I’m outgoing, but at the end of the day, I often prefer to be in the company of close friends or family rather than at a crowded bar or bustling social function.
P.S. Check out Susan Cain’s TED Talk on introversion if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s a fun watch.
What advice do you have for other young professional women?
Have a voice. Support other women. Dress for the job you want. Find mentors in successful women and men. Look people in the eye. Develop a firm handshake. Remember age does not matter, quality of work does. Know that you can be feminine, smart, and assertive at the same time.
What is your favorite quote?
Right now, I’m loving this one by Rumi: “Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.”
I believe our thoughts are self-fulfilling prophecies. Pessimistic thoughts become negative feelings and translate to negative actions, even subconsciously. I love the notion that if we believe great things are coming our way, they’re already half way there.
Thank you, Samantha!